Bulletin Board: 09/01

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West Nile Hits Florida Man, Horse
he first reported U.S. cases of West Nile virus in 2001 in humans or horses were confirmed in July in the Florida panhandle. A Madison County man was hospitalized with the disease, and a horse euthanized in Jefferson County was also confirmed with WNV. Two other horses in the same area tested positive and are awaiting confirmation. As of late July, WNV-positive birds have also been reported in 10 states, including Georgia, with viral activity particularly high in the Baltimore area.

The cases represent a huge geographical jump since the disease first appeared in New York in 1999, mostly centered in the Middle Atlantic area but gradually spreading farther north, west and south. In 2000, 59 horses were confirmed positive in seven states with a mortality rate of 40%. The cases ceased in late fall as cold weather decreased mosquito activity.

Florida has also experienced increased activity of Eastern equine encephalitis this summer, with four confirmed cases and reports of possibly two dozen more. The state has issued an EEE alert for 14 counties.

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Equitana USA License Dropped
VNU Expositions Inc. of Dallas, Texas, gave up the license for Equitana USA in July that it acquired when it bought Miller Freeman/USA last year. The Equitana brand is owned by Reed Exhibition Companies of England, which will now have to decide if it will grant the U.S. license to another company or run Equitana USA itself.

“Reed Exhibition is looking at ways that they can continue the event,” said Andrew Shanks of Reed, which acquired the brand when it purchased Miller Freeman/Europe last year.

Equitana USA has been held yearly since 1996 in Louisville, Ky. This year, 41,000 people visited from June 14-17, down from 55,000 in 2000 and 49,000 in 1999.

The next Equitana USA is currently planned for June 13-16, 2002. VNU acquired the regional trade show EqWest in San Diego at the same time as Equitana USA but cancelled it after the 2000 show.

Equitana began in Germany in 1972 and is held there every two years in Essen, where the last exposition had 300,000 visitors over nine days. It is also held yearly in Australia.

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FDA Approves EPM Drug
The Federal Drug Administration approved Marquis (ponazuril) in July as the first drug to treat equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) in horses. It is supplied as an oral paste given once a day for 28 days in adult horses. Marquis is made by Bayer Animal Health of Shawnee Mission, Kan., and will be available by prescription-only from a veterinarian.

In some areas of the U.S., as much as 90 percent of the horse population may have been exposed to EPM, although only about 1% of the exposed horses develop clinical signs and need treatment. Bayer is the only company with an approved EPM drug at this time.

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AHSA Is Now USA Equestrian
Directors of the American Horse Shows Association voted on July 10 to change the name of the organization to USA Equestrian, Inc., effective immediately. Only eight of the 46 directors opposed the name change.

A $2 increase in the drug-testing fee charge for each show entry was voted and will raise the total USAE fee to $10, effective Dec. 1. The higher fee will allow for increased testing and research.

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Herpes Outbreaks
An outbreak of neurological herpes was confirmed this summer in horses in Johnson County, Wyo. Seven were euthanized. A similar outbreak occurred in the spring at an eventing stable in eastern Pennsylvania.

The virus strain is the same one responsible for rhino in young horses and abortions in mares. Outbreaks of a neurological nature appear sporadically, for reasons that are unclear, and even vaccinated horses can be stricken.

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AHP Awards
Horse Journal took three places in the 2001 American Horse Publications Annual Awards. Dr. Eleanor Kellon won third place and honorable mention in the Horse Care category with “Does Your Horse Need All Those Vaccines'” (February 2000) and “Keep Your Competition Horse Going” (May 2000). Margaret Freeman won third place in Editoral for “The Internet: Reader Beware” (April 2000). There were 77 AHP media entered in the contest.